Email can be one of the most efficient forms of B2B marketing in terms of both time and cost. Working to build rapport through your email marketing efforts helps to add value to the initial stages of contact, and can result in smoother, more efficient transitions through the sales funnel.
Building rapport through your email messages can be easier said than done, especially when focusing on cold outreach; however, there are simple changes that you can make to your email marketing approach so that you are putting your best foot forward when aiming to build rapport with your prospects.
Email personalisation is a great place to start when looking to build rapport.
Cold and bulk emails are more often than not disengaging and irrelevant. Rather than opening your emails with impersonal salutations such as ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’, try personalising your emails with the prospect’s name, company name, position, and other relevant details.
Bland and generic openers are a clear red flag that this is just another marketing email from someone they don’t know and can result in almost immediate disengagement, and unsubscription.
Starting your emails with lines like, ‘Hi David,’ creates a more welcoming and familiar start to the interaction, and helps to create a more relaxed and slightly informal conversational tone which is beneficial for rapport building.
You may think that personalising every single email which is part of a mass send-out seems like a lot of work, but most email marketing systems have tools that make light work of email personalisation.
One example of this is Campaign Monitor. When uploading your subscriber list to Campaign Monitor, you can select specific data fields within the list that you can then insert into your message using personalisation tags; meaning even campaigns that are being sent to hundreds, or even thousands of people can be easily personalised – provided you have the data.
Just by making these simple changes to your email personalisation, you can make a good start towards building rapport with your prospects; not to mention, it can help to increase your email’s unique open rate by up to twenty-nine percent.
The relevancy of the message within your emails is vital not just for building rapport, but for generating interest with the prospect, and through continued interactions, moving them through to the next stage of your sales funnel.
Irrelevant emails are the downfall of many email marketing strategies with only 9% of marketers being confident that all of the emails they send are relevant. This means that 91% of marketers are unsure if their emails are having a negative impact such as; the destruction of rapport, or frustration on the prospect’s end.
The key to developing relevant emails is research. By researching your prospects, their challenges and pain points, and demonstrating knowledge of industry insights, you can create a relevant and interesting message to deliver to your prospects.
Rather than just thinking of ways to promote your offerings and generate an opportunity, you should first aim to create a connection between yourself and the prospect through the delivery of a well-composed relevant message.
A recent example of industry-relevant email marketing came from a national news story highlighting changes to mandatory training within the NHS and social care sector to cover learning disability theory. We felt the information held key relevance to our prospects who offer training to the health and care sectors, so we put together an email to send out to these prospects.
This gave us the opportunity to highlight how these changes will give them the perfect opportunity to expand their client base and secure new business opportunities, which in turn, gave us the chance to introduce ourselves in a relevant and valuable way.
If we had simply sent an email introducing ourselves, our services and dropping a call-to-action at the end of it, we would have likely seen a lower click-through and reply rate.
By delivering relevant, and valuable information to your prospects, you are far more likely to receive a positive response from an interested prospect, and begin to build up rapport.
Address Their Needs
As I began to mention above, blasting your target audience with emails containing just information about your company without providing any additional value, won’t get you very far when looking to make an emotional connection with your prospects.
As well as providing relevant information surrounding their industry etc. you also need to showcase your knowledge of their business’ pain points and the challenges that they face both long-term and on a day-to-day basis.
Say, for example, your business supplies products or services to the medical and care sector with the aim of improving person-centred care; rather than just dumping a load of information about yourself and why the prospect should work with you, first take the time to cover their pain points.
Show them that you understand the value and importance of person-centred care and that you understand the pressures they face such as dwindling numbers of staff; you can then glide seamlessly onto how more efficient and more easily manageable solutions are needed. This leads eloquently onto how your offerings have been developed to assist with the maintenance of quality care, highlighting the key issues that they face, that you can resolve.
By addressing your prospect’s needs and showing that your primary focus is on solving their problems, as opposed to getting another sale, you could receive a more positive response from your audience and build rapport more efficiently.
Value Their Time
High-level prospects and decision-makers very rarely have time to spare throughout their workday, so if you’re hoping that they can take the time to have a discussion with you over email, it’s important to show that you value their time.
The first thing to consider is the length of your email message.
If you send your prospects an excessively long email that is just one solid block of text, with a salutation and a sign off pegged onto each end, it’s not exactly going to leave a great first impression.
Messages like these do not only look untidy, and unprofessional, but it also shows a lack of consideration for the prospect’s time or reading experience, and will, therefore, lead to difficulties when building rapport.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to include no more than four paragraphs that are three to four lines in length. This helps to keep your messages from becoming too lengthy and also helps to break up the message into short and easy to read paragraphs.
Another good way to show the prospect that you understand that they are busy and that you value their time is to actually tell them.
Opening your emails with lines like ‘I understand you must be busy so I thought email would be the best way to get in touch …’, suggests that you were looking to contact them directly via another channel e.g. over the phone, but then took the time to consider which means of contact would be more convenient for the prospect, which shows your dedication and consideration for building a positive business relationship.
To Wrap Up...
Building rapport via your email marketing at the initial stages of interaction with your prospects, not only helps with creating a positive relationship with your potential customers, but it also helps to remove the leg work of rapport building at later stages, meaning your efforts for converting the prospect can be more focused and productive.
With prospects being saturated with irrelevant and ‘spammy’ sales and marketing emails, taking the time to create relevant and compelling messages and content helps you to stand out from the crowd and generate interest more efficiently. With a more efficient email marketing strategy, you can secure a higher number of quality business opportunities and see a greater return-on-investment.